tv Martin Luther Kings Lost Speech CSPAN February 6, 2016 10:30am-12:01pm EST
brought you candidate speeches. meet and greets, town halls, and life caucus coverage. leading up to the first in the nation primary. startsection coverage tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. in july, 1962, martin luther king, jr. was the first african-american to speak at the national press club in washington. recently, members of the club located 53-year-old recordings of the speech and organized a panel of civil rights leaders and journalists to discuss its importance. this event includes portions of king's remarks. it is about an hour and a half. >> here is little background on the speech. dr. king was the first african-american to ever speak at a national press club luncheon.
he did this on july 19, 1962. this speech came one week after his second arrest in albany, georgia. and he would be arrested a third time and how many at a prayer vigil exactly eight days after he gave this speech. his press club talk came more than a year before dr. king's most famous "i have a dream" speech on the national mall. here is how the evening will work. first, joe madison will interview mr. booker who was a club member, who not only attended the speech in 1962, but he helped organize it. as a member of the club's speakers committee. second, joe will interview by
telephone dr. cb jones. dr. jones helped write the speech. then we will hear four speech excerpts in the order that dr. king said them. we will hear his opening, and we will hear his closing. and we have two excerpts in the middle of the speech. there will be a panel discussion of these first, middle, and ending sections after each section. one of these middle excerpts is a video clip. everything else is audio, but there is one video clip. this video clip is the only known video clip of this speech to exist. there is no video or film of this event beginning to end that we know of, and we have searched far and wide. at the time we were doing these national press club lunches in the 1960's, we only recorded
them. we did not film them all, as we did today. so, while there is no video of the entirety of the speech, and we are not able to play for you the entirety of the speech in the q&a because that would take too long, i want you to know that this video clip, the audio, and the entire speech is on our website at press.org/mlk. press.org/mlk. you will also see a printed transcript of this entire event beginning to end, including all the questions he was asked that day. that is available on the website. feel free to access that and learn a lot more about this speech after tonight. after we hear the clips and discuss them, joe will interview journalist bruce johnson, and then joe will close the program promptly at 9:00 p.m.. dr. king's appearance here was one of the most significant
things to ever happen at the national press club. and to mark the significance of this event, and let me tell you, it is long past due, we have made a plaque that we are bringing out for the first time here today and i said at the beginning of my presidency that we would do this. we will put this plaque right outside the stores of the ballroom just to the left. there is a photo of lbj and nexen there right now. lbj and nixon are going to get moved, they will not go away, but they are going to get moved to get moved because that is a highly prominent spots to have observed this highly significant event happened and that plaque will be at the national press club, which really is a living museum if you walk around and look at the walls. that plaque will be there as long as the press club stands. and while i am only president
for another week, believe me, if i ever come back and do not see that plaque hanging there, there will be nonviolent direct action to make sure that that plaque is returned. [laughter] [applause] >> i don't think anybody's ever going to move it, frankly, because we are all in all of what we're all going to hear tonight. and i heard some of the excerpts earlier this afternoon and it sent chills down my spine . i want to introduce mr. joe madison. [applause] joe: for more than half a century, simeon booker devoted his career in journalism, race relations, black politics, and watched the civil rights movement evolved from its very beginning and the stories that he and his fellow black journalists told and the things
they encountered are chronicled in a book that he has written, a biography. and putting this panel together, the first thing that we had to do was make sure that all of the participants are alive and here with us. when you consider it has been 50 plus years, we wanted to dig deep and far and get people who understood exactly what went on. it is interesting. the national press club, the very first speaker you heard, was martin luther king, jr. you begin to wonder why it took so long to have the first speaker in 1962, you could've had jackie robinson, thurgood marshall, marian anderson, the list goes on and on. booker t. washington.
then you realize, they did not invite the first woman to the press club until 1971. and nikita khrushchev made that happen. we have come a long way and the person who has watched that journey is simeon booker. simeon booker, ladies and gentlemen, if you do not know, jet magazine would not be jet magazine without simeon booker and his piece. [applause] joe: and his wife, carol, is right beside him and let's give her a round of applause. [applause] joe: now, simeon, first of all thank you for being here. let's get to this, you were on the committee that actually
decided to invite dr. martin luther king jr. to be the speaker. to the best of your recollection, what went on in that meeting? what was it like? and carol, you can fill in, because i know you have an extensive paragraph in his autobiography about that meeting. but what you remember, simeon? aboutt do you remember the decision to invite dr. king? do you remember some tension on the speakers committee? simeon: [indiscernible] carol: he did remember when he wrote this book. he has asked me to --
joe: had him that microphone. it might jog his memory. carol: and 97, memory fades with every day. this is from "shocking the conscience." a reporters account of the civil rights movement that simeon wrote this in 2013. published by university press of mississippi, ironically. he writes that he remembered the first time dr. king spoke at the club in 1962. simeon was only the second member of the club. joe: the second african-american? carol: the second african-american. louis did not participate. when simeon was sponsored for membership, he was urged to be an active member and he was. he joined the speakers committee, which was one of the most important committees because it was the committee that chose the speakers for
these wonderful newsmaker luncheons here at the club. so, he proposed that dr. king speak. dr. king had gotten some notoriety, a lot of press because of the montgomery bus boycotts. but here never been interviewed by the national press. and simeon thought the time had come. it was a year before the march on washington and the "i have a dream" speech. and it was two years before dr. king became the youngest recipient of the nobel peace prize. so, he still had not been named time magazine's man of the year, either. jet magazine had had dr. king on its cover at least twice, and if you know the history of jet magazine, the cover was usually
a young starlet, a pretty, young woman. here was a newsmaker taking the cover. that was rather unusual for johnson publishing. and king had never addressed a large audience of the national press. also at the same time in 1962, maybe even earlier, the fbi itself will admit that j edgar hoover had targeted dr. king as a possible pawn of the communist movement in america. as anybody who participated in civil rights at that time was suspect by the fbi as being not only a troublemaker, but possibly a pawn of the communist movement.
so, j. edgar hoover use the press and people that he knew to send out rumors and i think it might have been that more than any racial issue that caused dissension on the committee. joe: to invite him to speak. carol: yes, because the chairman of the committee resigned in protest when the committee accepted simeon's recommendation that dr. king speak. joe: the chairman of the speakers committee? carol: yes. he was the only one. this speech itself, as it will get to later on, is a magnificent speech. and you can tell from the questions that followed it that the seat had been planted because there is one question about whether it had been written by stanley levinson, a new york lawyer who was
considered by the fbi to be communist tainted. joe: maybe i can get closer with this microphone, so if you could, is there anything, simeon, that you have heard that you want to add or did carol pretty much get your thoughts there that you put down in the book? carol: can you hear joe? joe: yes. carol: is there anything you add to my brilliant summary? [laughter] carol: remember we're going home together tonight. simeon: keep talking. [laughter] [applause] joe: i got that treatment when i first walked into his office many years ago.
"keep talking." carroll: sometimes it's better if i'm not in the room because then he will talk. if i'm here he will say you do it. come on, simeon, talk a bit. simeon: about what? carol: dr. king. simeon: i've almost forgotten him. --ol: you don't realize people ask simeon when he was on the freedom rides, how did he feel when the back of the bus when people were being beaten up and he will say, i don't remember. 50 years later, he is in the most vivid events -- especially when there is one event after another.
joe: if you don't mind, i will tell you what i want to do, and that is to go to another individual who is out in san francisco at stanford university. i've had the pleasure of interviewing him on several occasions. he was dr. king's advisor and lawyer and by the way, his speechwriter. it was by chance that we were discussing this program that i mentioned we would be doing this and he said, i helped write that speech. and that is dr. clarence jones, who is scholar in residence at stanford university at the martin luther king jr. research and education institute. dr. jones, i know you are a long way away, but can you hear me? dr. jones: i can hear you.
joe: can we give them a round of applause? [applause] joe: we have given the background of this. let me ask you. just how important was the speech to dr. king at the time? dr. jones: we thought it was an important speech. first of all, let me just a for -- state for the record that this speech was fundamentally his speech, but there was a lot of discussion about it. they could -- the material was should consider was jointly done with stanley levinson. the fbi was right, stanley
levinson and i played a great role in preparing the text of the speech. i had a very -- a rather cynical attitude toward his planned appearance. joe: why was that? dr. jones: in 1962, [indiscernible] -- involved in a campaign offer -- to desegregate public buildings in georgia. public facilities. dr. king had been in and out of georgia. someone, i don't think he says it, but someone said to me i don't think that there has ever been a negro that has ever spoken at the national press club. and i said, well, i find that hard to believe but i guess it is. so i called up lily martin -- -- louis martin on the democratic national committee. joe: would you mind telling his
-- this audience who louis martin was at the time? dr. jones: he was the highest-ranking black and the democratic party. i said if martin appears here, you got the kennedy administration, the assistant press secretary, why has it taken so long to get a negro at the press club? and he said you need to ask them. i said, that is what i am asking you. we, when i say we, certainly martin luther king, jr., stanley levinson, the particularly dr. king, we were focused on albany, georgia. and we saw the occasion to speak at the press club.
him speaking about, not just albany, but the broader issue of race in america because yes, he had received a lot of prominence from the montgomery bus boycotts and by 1960 had been on the cover of time magazine, but a large majority of america, they just knew that there was a negro preacher. they didn't know much about him. they didn't know what we knew, that he was probably as erudite and more erudite than the people have spoken at the national press club. he had the moniker of being about the speech but let me state for you clearly. dr. king was brilliant, had a photographic memory, and was a scholar. now, i was critical of the
national press club and also critical of dr. king because he did not seem to respond to what i wanted him to take a much more harsher position. i wanted him to -- when he spoke about being there, i wanted him to actually say as part of the speech why has it taken so long for an african -- a negro to speak at the national press club. and he said no, that is often -- off the issue. remember, this is july of 1962. president kennedy is the president of the united states. robert kennedy as the attorney general. and the speaker before me, -- the woman mentioned -- let me say for the record, from july 13, 1963, until december 31st,
1967, every single telephone call, without exception, 24/7, everything will telephone call that took place between martin luther king, jr., clarence jones, stanley levinson, every single one was wiretapped. and the conversations transcribed. first by handwritten notes, and then they were typed and marked top secret. it is a little bit off-topic, except your listener should know with respect to the federal bureau of investigation and j. edgar hoover, any opportunity where dr. king would be
a celebrated person was the last thing in the world he would have wanted. he wanted to destroy his reputation. i have heard secondhand, in fact, i don't have it before me, but i remember reading in the transcript of the wiretapped files. his file before they started tapping the joint file in 1963. anyway, everybody knows this. joe: let me ask a final question from me and then if you can expand, we only have a couple more minutes. that is ok. what was dr. king's reaction after the speech? how did he feel the reception
was? what was his thought after his historic speech? dr. jones: i asked him, and i said, how are you received? i was not there. he said, i thought it went over very well. he said, sometimes people -- even some of our friends, they have difficulty when you talk about matters publicly that they are embarrassed to hear. and so from his standpoint, he felt that the mere fact that he spoke at the press club, the mere fact that he talked about the issues, which were confronting america as a result
of his experience, coming from montgomery -- and he mentions a couple of times, at least one time, and i remember it in his speech because i wanted it to be mentioned more, he was in albany, georgia. i wanted him to talk about albany being a template, a kind of microcosm of what we are trying to do in the south. a direct answer to your question was he was pleased. i don't think he was -- i don't think he was overwhelmed in any way. i think he was just pleased. his first reaction was, they did not boo me. he got an applause. i said, well, let's see what happens in the press and how they're going to try to tear you up in the press. afterward. i do not recall --
joe: what happened after that. dr. jones: yes, i do not recall him getting any negative press be back. joe: dr. jones, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. i really appreciate the insight. dr. jones: not a problem. joe: thank you very much. [applause] joe: so, let's go to the audio clip, at least in part, of what dr. jones was talking about. [video clip] dr. king: mr. chairman, distinguished dias guests, members of the national press club, ladies and gentlemen, i warmly welcome the opportunity to address such a distinguished group of journalists.
as has been said, i almost did not make it. just last week, i was convicted in the city court of albany, georgia, for participating in a peaceful march protesting segregated conditions in that community. i decided on the basis of conscience not to pay the fine of $178, but to serve the jail sentence of 45 days. just as i was about to get adjusted to my new home for 45 days, reverend abernathy and i were noted by that some unknown donor had paid our fines, and that we had to leave the job. as the atlanta constitution suggested the other day, we have now reached a new landmark in race relations. we have witnessed persons being
ejected from lunch counters during the the sit-ins. and thrown into jail during the freedom rides. but for the first time, we witness persons being kicked out of jail. [laughter] dr. king: victor hugo once said, "that that is nothing more powerful and all of the world, then an idea whose time has come." anyone sensitive to the present moods in our nation must know that the time for racial justice has come. the issue is not whether segregation and discrimination will be eliminated, but how they will pass from the american scene.
joe: let me start with the a mississippix, organizer during the civil rights movement and worked with the federal government on minority business development. he is president of sncc's legacy board, and i'm always so intimidated when i get around cortland. he is just a brilliant individual. just let me get your initial reaction, because i know that you prepped for this. you must have some thoughts before you came in here, when you were invited. just your initial reaction about this whole situation and what you just heard, what you heard from dr. jones and also maybe a little history about the relationship of dr. king with sncc at that time in albany.
courtland: before i begin, i would just like to say that i remember being in the same place with simeon booker when adam clayton powell was there with dick gregory, in 1966 or 1967 and he was a person of high regard at that point, and was important to telling the story. as we know, jet magazine, along with simeon and larry stills were very important getting the message out. what strikes me about listening to dr. king and listening to attorney jones is that while america wants to celebrate how far it has come, and it should celebrate how far it has come,
those of us who were involved in getting america to this point face very difficult circumstances because from attorney jones's tone about being wiretapped, being talked about and thought about as a communist, being disregarded. clearly, king was a brilliant person, as we have stated here tonight. but being disregarded as someone who is making a tremendous contribution. that what strikes me about mlk's opening statement is that understanding all of the difficulties that we were facing in albany, georgia -- of course, they started the jail, -- jail nobel discussion.
they were going to fill the jails. people were beginning to really deal with it, direct action. that dr. king facing all of that in the south, not only in the south, but j. edgar hoover, the distrust of, in some respects, the kennedy administration. he came here and made such an opening statements he was able to be affable. he was able to not really give you the sense of frustration that dr. jones talked about. i think that was king's big contribution to america, when america needed to see a face of what was going on -- the question that was always there, what do you negroes want? that was the question that was always post. and for dr. king to face all
that he faced in the south, and to come here and know that he was the first, and as you pointed out, there can marshal -- thurgood marshall and others -- joe: jesse owens. courtland: knowing that they had not only disregarded him, but a whole group of people. not because they did not make any contribution, but because of the ignorance that people had. for him to come here and to be so gracious and to be so good about his opening, i think was the thing that struck me in terms of the opening statement. joe: and another person came to my mind. dr. ralph, who won the nobel peace prize and had not been invited here. judy richardson and i was told to let you know that she was here before you were and on time. [laughter] joe: they have a thing going. first.g of a negro
[laughter] joe: a former staff member with sncc in the 1960's and one of the most outstanding documentarians, and to her credit, she worked on the 14 the 14 hour "eyes on the prize" that won an academy award. [applause] joe: courtland talks about how dr. king in speaking here was gracious, affable. i made a note. the first attempt at humor in the first part of the speech seems to fall flat. there were a few jokes there that just not get a response, and i assume people just cannot -- did not get it. maybe, i don't know what they were expecting but they did not get it. but let's talk about albany. what was going on in albany?
now you are older now, more , mature, but at the time, let's be honest, king also had a major, major confrontation with sncc at that time in albany. i read a comment by my good friend, the late great, julian bond who referred to dr. king as "the lord" and "here he comes." talk about that because dr. king did not even bring that into the discussion in the speech. judy: they asked him, what is it about the conflict, and he says, we have no conflict. that is what we've always said. on the ground organizing, we do not have that conflict. this is a -- the southern christian leadership conference naacp, and the youth groups of , the naacp, particularly the rural areas where they had cc
had bryante naacp and all of those grassroots leadership, there was no problem. i think we had a different organizing style. dr. king was this incredible, intelligent, but he was also a charismatic leader. and so what we would say is that we are doing grassroots leadership from the bottom up. when i think about albany, i think not only of dr. king and his spending time in jail, but i think of mama dolly who nurtured us, who protected us with her 12 gauge. she is one of the many women in albany, georgia, and terrell county, we used to call it terrible carol. when you listen to, for example, bernice johnson reagan, who is at the smithsonian -- the founder of sweet honey in the rock, it has been at the smithsonian for years, she comes out of the albany, georgia,
movement. the youth movement was the absolute engine that came through in albany. we believed in building a leadership locally that would survive even our deaths. so that the main thing was, you are not the leaders. you are building leadership from the ground at and we were building leadership among those who normally would not have had a voice. so, when i look at -- for example, i should say, eyes on the prize, all 14 hours, is about to come on on sunday on before "downton abbey" at 8:00 p.m. the first will be at 7:30 p.m. with a 30 minute wraparound. i've been working on it with wgbh. tomorrow i do a one-hour weban r inar. but all 14 hours. a lot of stations do not get it. but starting in february it will
go systemwide on pbs. again, it is all 14 hours. it is not just montgomery said in san freedom rides, when you get into that second hour, you hear dr. king's speeches. the fourth hour of the second series, it is all devoted to him and where he is talking against the vietnam war. you see the riverside speech. as a matter of fact, when he is talking about the fact that it did not cost the nation one penny to integrate lunch counters, but now we need is a radical redistribution of economic power. you see where he is now, which is incredible, but then you see him going into chicago in the second series. you see it in footage, with the people who were interviewed, and you see him going and trying to take the nonviolent action north to chicago. but right up against daly. what happens when you go into northern racism, and that entrenched stuff. joe: how did the media, the
press, respond to this? because one of the things that carol mentioned in simeon's book is that dr. king -- most people do not realize this, but the reality is that a lot of young people here think that it was constant news coverage. that the news coverage was constant. but that was not the case. i see hope franklin wants to jump in on this. but it was not constant news coverage, was it? lord knows we were not getting a tremendous amount of news in the southern campaign. >> but you had the black press. joe: explain the importance of the black press. franklin: we had a very divided society at the time. i'm going to talk about the washington, d.c. of 1952. -- 1962. african-americans cannot eat in any of the restaurants near here. we could not stay in any of the
hotels. my mother and father came here in graduate school. and my father said there was nowhere that he could eat except the supreme court and the methodist building. when working at the library of congress. of course we never stayed in hotels in washington. joe: where did you stay? friend: we stay with relatives. whenever we traveled anywhere you either touch the green book which told you where you could stay, where you could eat, and washington, d.c., in the north or the south, and puerto rico, in the bahamas, and in mexico. joe: the dr. king carry a green book around? franklin: everyone had to carry at least a set of contacts or phone numbers. when we left here going to north carolina, when i saw the iwo jima bridge as a four-year-old, i knew that meant no more bathrooms, no more restaurants, no more filling stations until
he got to our friends' home. we would take our lunch from here and use the facilities of our friends in petersburg and eat the lunch. joe: tie that into the significance of then dr. king been invited in july of 1962. because then i guess he had to hightail it out of town or stay at a cousins house? franklin: 1962 is the same year that the club rejected someone for mentorship. >> i came to washington, d.c. in 1960. the washington post had ads both for whites and blacks. the only place we could go, the restaurant that we could go to, i think there were maybe three restaurants that let people could go to. evelyn's, keys restaurant, and
billy simpson's. clifton terrace, right up on 13th street, was segregated. black people cannot move into that. stokely carmichael was one of the first people to move into clifton terrace. it was not only the press club, someone said you cannot have any black bus drivers because they would steal the money. this town we know was ruled by the southern -- i think mcmillan, and the people from the south. they were chairs and they ran the political situation. so, it was not only the press club itself, was part of the -- one of the first things i did here when i came to washington, d.c. is picket rfk stadium because they had no black people
on the redskins team. i know washington. so basically when dr. king came here, what john is talking about is what we all face, whether we lived here are whether we were traveling. joe: what simeon did at that point, 50 plus years, it took a heart for simeon to walk into -- franklin: and this time, it was not just the press club, the whole environment. the whole society that was close d to the black community. and for simeon to take that stand was a tremendous courage. joe: in the professional organization, the american bar association did not accept blacks. the american medical association did not accept blacks. the american dental association did not accept blacks. therefore we had a parallel universe, a professional organization for black doctors, black physicians, dentists come a black attorneys.
joe: let me do this. we have a video clip that you are going to see. then an audio clip that you will hear. so let's play those if you do not mind. the video and the audio. [video clip] dr. king: we will do this peacefully and openly. because our aim is to persuade. we have not the means of nonviolence because our community is at with itself. we will try to persuade with our words. but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. we will always be willing to talk and seek their compromise.
and we are ready to suffer when necessary, and even risk our lives to become witnesses to the truth as we see it. we are involved in a campaign to involve millions of negroes in the use of the franchise. some of our workers have already suffered violence and arrests for their reference. -- efforts. that we will continue. we believe that with violent intensified actions, the correspondingly expanded federal government program of vigorous law enforcement is indisputable. -- indispensable. this is where nonviolence breaks with communism and any other method which contends that the ends justifies the means. in a real sense, the means represent the ideal and the -- in the making. and the ends in process.
in the long run, destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends. because the end is preexistent in the means. nonviolent resistance also provides a creative force through which men can channelize their discontent. it does not require that they abandon their discontent. this discontent is found and healthy. nonviolence saves it from degenerating into morbid bitterness and hatred. hate is always tragic. it is as injurious to the hader -- hater as it is to be hated. a psychiatrist tells us now that many of the inner conflicts and things that happen in the subconscious hate. so, they are now same level or perish. this is the beauty of nonviolence. it says that you can struggle
without hating. you can fight war without violence. and it is my great hope that as the negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom he will plunge even deeper into the velocity of nonviolence. as a race, we must work passionately and unrelentingly for our first-class citizenship. we must never use second-class methods to gain it. as i have said so often, we must never succumb to the contagion -- temptation of using violence in our struggle, for if this happens, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness. and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. the nonviolent resistance can summarize our message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice without waiting for other agents to act. we will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. we will do this peacefully and openly.
because our aim is to persuade. we adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. we will try to persuade with our words. but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. we will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to the truth as we see it. joe: whoa. let me tell you -- [applause] joe: i did not get a chance to properly introduce him, dr. john w. franklin for the national museum of african american history and culture. the gorgeous building going up over there. [applause]
joe: and of course, his father, john hope franklin, along with his father, he co-edited the book, "my life and era." the also served as advisor on the documentary film. i have to tell you, dr. franklin, that is a tough audience he was speaking before. mean there were so many applause lines, i'm listening, that today people would have been on their feet. think what we just heard from courtland and from you and the others about what washington was. the establishment was segregated. and he gave that kind of speech. that had to be -- i'm sorry, but it certainly was not his audience.
am i over exaggerating this? dr. franklin? dr. franklin: not at all. but we grew up being able to function in two societies. joe: how does that apply to what we heard? dr. franklin: we grew up being able to function in the black community, and he went to boston university. he can function in white academia. washington's academic community was a segregated as any other at that time. i asked my father what were the issues when he arrived here in 1947? and he said the big question in the city was would george washington university lose their auditorium and be open for everyone. the answer during his lifetime here was no, it remained a segregated facility.
so universities, the universities that we see now, georgetown, american university, george washington, they were exclusively white institutions. university of maryland, college park. my father was the first black professor there in 1964. when we arrived in hyattsville, there is a crisis of a black family moving in. the neighborhood demands to meet with the history department to ask who are these negroes moving and? where the coming? how long of a saying and how many children did they have? so i moved into a hostile place. -- maryland. i did not think i would ever want to live here. nobody spoke to us. i have lived in hostile new york, but i had not experienced this. joe: what was the significance? what do you think came out of this speech that we are celebrating here? courtland: what is amazing to me
is that king was 33 years old. think of another 33-year-old person who not only faced what judy talked about and what john is talking about and what simeon wrote about, and you talk about hostile environment. he had to craft a message and a strategy and a way of approaching that so that we would move forward as opposed to beginning to move in on each other. i mean, when you think of the brilliance of king at 33 years old, and he had already been on the scene for at least eight years. so my sense is that i think when people think of -- when people think about sncc and martin
-- king and so forth, in 1962, i was 21 years old. there were others, old people, we consider people old in sncc if they were 20 years old. -- 28. namell not call tim jenkins' . it does seem to me that what america has to appreciate, not only in terms of that whole generation of people who were generally ranging from 17 or 18 years old but king being at the outer limits of 33, a whole strategy or story our rhetoric that was able to move this country from where it had been to where it needed to go. i think that is something that people need to really appreciate. the genius of that group of
people that made the difference. joe: i wondered because i assume at that time most of the members of the press club were active journalists? they were colonists. there were journalists. i just wonder what the impact was after the speech? judy: you mentioned the negro press. joe: they were not in that room. judy: but when you talk about the alternate universe, one of the things that you get amazed about with dr. king, and you see it throughout, and it is what allowed -- even though we may have had different organizing styles in sncc, sncc folk used to go over to dr. king's hall stressed sunday dinner. hall with get over there and have sunday dinner.
because there was interaction. it was so open. it was not just that he was absolutely brilliant, and when you listen to him, it's even different than seeing on the page. when you hear him speak, when you hear that riverside speech, when you hear the -- a lot of the speeches he was doing around economic equity, i sat in my car here in d.c., at the hopeful parking lot. i'm sitting there because the pacifica station was playing a speech he had done about -- right after he received the nobel prize. and he is talking about southeast asia. he gives a 30 minute lecture in the amazing wording and the feeling that he always had, he could story tell that. i would not move for my car. and it was cold. i would not move from the car because he was so -- he brought it all home. and the historical grounding that he had is so amazing.
when i mention this thing about sncc and whatever conflict there might've been around organizers, that was not about dr. king, though. there might've been some concerns around some other people on the sclc staff, but not dr. king because he was always so open. he was also brilliant. courtland: i think the question you asked -- when i think about it, i think that -- i will give you an answer that may not be the best, but it really did not make a difference what those journalists thought in that room. because, going back to this communist discussion, there was communism with a whole big thing after the mccarthy era and all of that. where people think that some of the rhetoric today was bad, but when we were down there, the whole thing about being
communist, and i was down in mississippi and a woman from a local community came up and said to me, i am really glad that you communists are here to help us out. [laughter] courtland: it didn't make a difference. i mean sncc was a big a big deal with kennedy and this country. and so forth. we were talking about stan levinson and other people, but in sncc and people in the local communities and so forth, all of this was foolishness. all this chatter of the class war, about whether this was communist or if dr. king was this. they saw the day-to-day realities. the ability to eat. feed their families. deal with terror.
we want to talk about terror, we faced terror. one of the other big things i think for king and other people and civil rights movements, is that they faced terror and they were able to develop strategies that did not paralyze them. they were able to move to change. joe: they kept moving. let me now go to our next audio clip. this will be the last audio clip we will hear. and it is the end of the speech. this is near the end of this brilliant speech that he gave here at the national press club. listen up. [audio clip] dr. king: we have come to the day where a peace of freedom is not enough for us as human beings, nor for the nation of which we are a part.
we have been given pieces. but unlike bread, a slice of which does diminish hunger, a piece of liberty no longer suffices. freedom is like life. you cannot be given life in installments. you cannot be given breath, but no body. nor your hearts but no blood vessels. freedom is one thing. you have it all or you are not free. our goal is freedom. i believe we will win it because the goal of the nation is freedom. our destiny is bound up with the destiny of america. we built it for two centuries without wages. we made cotton king. we built our homes and homes of our masters. and injustice and humiliation, -- and suffered injustice and humiliation, and out of a bottomless vitality continue to live and grow. if the inexpressible cruelties
of slavery did not extinguish extinguish our existence, the opposition we now face will surely fail. we feel that we are the conscience of america. we are its troubled soul. we will continue to insist that rightly done because both god's will and the heritage of our nation speak through our echoing demands. we are simply seeking to bring into full realization the american dream. the dream yet unfulfilled, the dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed, the dream of a land where men no longer are subjected to the contents of a man's character being decided by the color of his skin. the dream of a land where every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. this is a dream, and when it is realized the jangly discord of our nation will be transformed into a beautiful symphony of
brotherhood. and men everywhere will know that america is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave. [applause][applause] >> i'm going to our panelists and we are going to close out. let me do this as i go across the panel. i made a note. i wonder what the journalists at the national press club expected to hear. they never heard an african-american speak at their luncheon. i doubt if many of them had traveled to montgomery or to the south to hear king speak. what did they expect to hear?
i don't mean this to be rude. was he talking over their heads? i wonder if they got it. i'm just asking you to reflect. as we close out your portion of the panel. john: it is difficult to imagine what they thought. they may have expected a preacher but not a scholar. i think that they were probably surprised. at the presentation, at the decorum, at his civility. if you read isabel wilkerson, and she talks about the meanness
of the laws and the customs that control the lives of black people, it's really defies migration theory. she is writing about the black migration. the migration of black people out of this terror is much more like people fleeing famine and war. it upsets migration theory. what black people were subjected to in the south and also in the north was mean. i don't think that america expected to hear about itself. to hear that it was not giving the promise of america to everyone. >> judy richardson, as you heard
the conclusion of that speech? judy richardson: he and so many others were able to survive that and to build organizations to help their communities thrive. one of the main things about dr. king was that he was so well grounded in his community and in himself. it didn't matter what the press club thought. he knew what the black press was doing, and that really was an alternate. when we did eyes on the prize we -- booker'sphotos photos we could go to. jet was always there. chicago defender. the black press was that alternate universe. >> had it not been for ebony, we would not have had photos.
judy: and jet was there. >> any thoughts you wanted to share quickly? carol: i was very interested in the questions that the club transcribed. it reflects everything that has been sent so far. they were surprised. they were dubious. one questioner said this wasn't anything like the speech he gave in albany. he just very nicely explained when i am preaching i preach and this is not that audience. he was more teaching, telling
people what they needed to know rather than extorting them to take some kind of action. after this he was on meet the press, i think five times before he was assassinated. he had larger audiences than this afterwards. he could go over the same kinds of things that two or three reporters were asking him about. this was his introduction to the national press and it didn't end here. they went on. joe: i want everyone to understand the courage to be one , of only two african-americans
in the press club at that time and the courage to go into that speakers committee and say i want to martin luther king to be a luncheon speaker. think about this, to have the chairman quit once the committee decided they were going to do this. it took a great deal of courage on the part of simeon booker. who is sitting here. [applause] joe: cortland, i will give you the final. cortlandt: it was a range of reactions.
on one end there was a small group of people who were just hateful. the majority of people it was something to do. at the other end of couple of people like claude sifton from the new york times may have gotten it. there was a lot of confusion. we would go somewhere to make a speech and we would talk about, not in such eloquent terms. the question and answer comes up. the first question we get is that, is it true that you want to marry my daughter? you would talk about your freedom and the need to change
the relationship that existed in this country between blacks and whites. the first question would come up on several occasions about sex. my sense is that when king spoke to this audience, there was a range of reactions. 15% on one end were hateful. another 70% were in the middle. it was just something to do. maybe 15% got what he was trying to say.
>> i am going to introduce now, he had to anchor the news. my good friend here in washington at wusa, he has won 20 emmy awards. the prestigious tailgates award that is only given with a unanimous vote. a unanimous vote. with that let me welcome to our panel bruce johnson. of wusa. [applause] joe: bruce e-mailed me and said i am going to be late. i'm not going to hear most of the panel. i think you were in the back, you got a chance to hear it. how should we approach that?
when the two of us started talking on the phone like that, oh my goodness. i said bruce bring us up to , date. where are we now? where is the national press now? it didn't take me but two with three sentences and then you were rolling. if you don't mind, i want you to tell people what you said to me on the phone as to what the message is you wanted to get across on this occasion. we're finally after 50 years recognizing a speech that many of us are hearing for the very first time. how fascinating that speech is. i keep thinking how does it
it apply to today? can we apply it to today? bruce: i want to thank everybody up here. i'm a beneficiary of dr. king and of each and every one of you. some of you i know personally, simeon, especially you. i applaud everything that you have done and the courage you have shown. you paved the path. i am standing on your shoulders, and the shoulders of a lot of journalists out here. [applause] bruce: they may not invite me back to speak. i'm going to tell you what i really think. and what i have seen. just my opinion. other people can disagree. i am a product of civil disturbances in the 60's. in 1968 i graduated from high
school. i spilled out into the streets. the national guard when in and we were at the other end. i was even sure why was out there except my friends were out there. i later found out why i was out there. dr. king didn't come to louisville that often. he had an incredible impact on my mother, who was a domestic. , and thed eight kids cause of inspiration like that from dr. king. after raising eight kids, she got her undergraduate degree from the university of louisville. [applause] bruce: that is the cloth that i'm cut from. i have serious concerns about where we are today. dr. king didn't need permission. he didn't care what people are going to say or do. he knew why he was here.
i was asking myself when you pose the question. i really don't care if they heard what he said. how could you not hear such a great orator? 33 years old, are you kidding? i have a son older than that. i want to know where they felt. that's my big concern. phone,id to you on the racism, from where i sit, is not the issue that it once was. federal protection of the laws. companies now know that racist behavior can cost you a lot of money. you can lose a lot of customers. people know they can lose their jobs. a lot of us go to social media. a lot of racists can hide their. that's another story, we will get to that. indifference is a big issue. that is what i see. a lot of my friends, white friends, they went to the polls
and they voted for barack obama. they thought that was the end. we've done it. i turned around to ron walters , a noted political scientist who is no longer with us, and i said what does this mean? the election of barack obama as president. what does it mean for black people, for african-americans? he said, it doesn't mean much. it will give you something to point to your kids and say look at this. much as he did with jackie robinson in baseball. it won't you much more than -- give you much more than that. he put out there then you'll figure it out. that's what he was saying. then you see the state of the union address and the guy yells out you lie. what did you feel?
i know what i felt. what do my white friends feel? my point is indifference is still a big problem. with my white friends. it is a very big problem with journalists. race still sells. we run to a race story. it has all the elements, a chance of violence fear, , misunderstanding, unpredictability. people are going to get locked up. it is a great live shot. it's a great chance for the anchor to turn to the reporter and say take care out there. it is great television. i think indifference guides us and a lot of this. we don't go much further than that. we'll look at why people are out there. we don't look at their lives. then they become people, it takes a lot of time. the masses aren't interested in that. our business has gone through a
lot of change. you see that the philadelphia inquirer today is thinking about going on, reporters are losing their job, constantly working under the threat of losing their jobs. the good side of social media is that the things that are not covered by mainstream can get covered. you are worried about your job, paying your mortgage, that kind of thing. so you fall in line. you may not have time for those kinds of stories you think need to be told unexplored. it doesn't have to be that competition. take your favorite network. not fox, but the other ones. the ones you consider ok, mainstream. i'm going to tell you what you are going to find. if it's about race, you find black people on the panel. if it's about the economy, about international affairs, politics at the highest level, it will be an all-white panel. chances are it's going to be an all-white panel.
chances are it's going to be a predominantly white male panel. they will sprinkle in white women. white women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action. that's not an opinion, that's a fact. that's a fact, it is not slamming anybody. indifference makes that picture so. nobody looked at that and thought what is wrong with this picture? it's not like there aren't qualified african american journalists or hispanic journalists or asian american journalists -- no one thought of it. the guy making the decision is the same guy who years ago after dr. king, and we took to the streets was made to think , diversity. it takes work to think out of your box. if it's just me and my boys, i would be sitting up here with my fraternity brothers. that's not diversity, that is me. you know exactly what i'm talking about. we no longer work at diversity. that is my problem. you have to think outside the
box. joe: what do we work at? what do you in the media work at? , we have a like me responsibility. you are rewarded for that. people in washington, they reward me for that because that's what we're about. it doesn't mean i'm going to -- if you are wrong i'm going to , call you out on it. were supposed to make people uncomfortable. we're supposed to make public officials accountable. you still do that. the diversity thing comes from training, turning this around. don't hire one guy. i don't want a piece of bread. you can count. diversity is good business. difficult?y that if i want black people to watch me, or hispanics, i am putting them on tv.
i'm going to charge you as a itck and asian american, as hispanic, to go out and cover the community. we come back to indifference. i haven't made it part of my training to know your community. the worst culprit is the minority who comes into the shop and doesn't want to cover his or her own community. i mentor a lot of young people. [applause] bruce: i had a young hispanic woman who didn't want to cover the hispanic community. she is bilingual. i said are you kidding me? that's your base. they are looking at you because of you. joe: why do you think that exists? why are there more simeon bookers? -- why aren't there more simian n booker's?simeo
bruce it takes courage. : you have to stand up to the power structure. you have to be good. this is a business. you have to convince people and sometimes you do it through your work. a good story is a good story. on "60 minutes," in terms of editing and being slick it is some of the worst television production wise that is the number one show because they tell good stories. it is a big part of my job to teach as i do these stories, to teach those i work with here is something you need to know about this person. joe: i'm thinking about parallels. we have the former sncc people here. be sncc forever, the day you go to heaven, you will be in sncc. i am thinking parallel black lives matter. i swear there is a parallel , there.
the black lives matter young people get treated and covered the way that they cover the sncc young people. am i right or wrong? this to want to say black lives matter. white people generally have no police police this way in their communities and that , way in black communities. more armed white people have been shot by police then armed black people. more unarmed black people get shot by police than whites people. why is it most of the fatal shootings are coming at the hands of white male police officers? to engage someone where their heart and mind is, but training is a big part of this. if you know this kind of stuff,
you can train them up front. we know that community policing works. we know that a police department -- just go to west baltimore. a police department that isn't from the schools, that doesn't live in the community they are committing considered an occupying force. zero tolerance to a police department means you have got to get those numbers up, you got to i chaseody who -- if you and you run now i have cause , to arrest you. that is zero tolerance. that happens in some communities. a white kid running down wisconsin avenue butt naked is not to be arrested. he's going to take and to a mental institution but he is not to be treated the same way as a black youth in other parts of town. black lives matter because it is opening the eyes of white people.
courtland: there is a mindset of whose people defined this. the black community has been defined one way. in the white community, it's defined another, given the example that bruce just talked about. the thing that is going to be critical that is going to turn things around is this whole drug issue. joe: in what way/ ? there were 49,000 drug overdoses in the united states last year. number one state's utah. the other vermont's. new hampshire, these are the white communities where opiates are. joe: the governor of maine says it's because you black men who who are coming up to maine and selling heroin. and on the way out, impregnating young white women. courtland: people get introduced
to these drugs. what we are beginning to see, most black people who are in jail today for use of drugs. it was a criminal, zero tolerance. now it is happening in the white community. now it is a social problem. it is a problem of health. i think that at some point what the difference is is who is making the decision, who was making the call. i think as we begin, we will see another iteration beyond black lives matter where we begin to come back to that discussion to seeking power, to be able to define our lives. to define what the definition is of good and bad. money is spent in terms of governmental budgets. and to begin to define how the police act. because i think it some point, we are going to move from the discussion of being in protest
be in power. that is the next stage. judy: we are in a three-year collaboration with duke university. what we did in september was a lot of the young activists from the larger black lives matter wanted to know what did you do. we don't have the answers. we knew the communication between grassroots organizing , deep-seated in the communities. not just mobilizing and not just demonstrating. and they really wanted to know how do you do that. she comes in from the trayvon martin group in florida and i was saying how do i do something beyond just responding. how do you start being proactive? not just demonstrating when the cops killed yet another black person. joe: i have one minute. bruce, he says who is in charge? since we are at the national
, if you -- press club can wrap this up. who is in charge of the news media? these stories, the media give people what they want rather than what they need. that is not good for democracy. who is in charge, bruce? as quick as you can. bruce: i don't buy that we tell people what to do. in other words, we give them back the answer they gave us. most people can't tell you what they want from the beginning. you judge that by, and people are watching. they want to be included, they want balance. people covered as part of the mainstream, and not just the underclass.
when you go out and do that story on the board of education, think in terms of not just people that look like you are think like you and act like you, think in terms of we have the same values and we are also interested in our kids being educated we also have some knowledge right it comes to education and business. when it comes to science. does it have to be a white guy? does it have to be a white scientist? does it have to be a white mathematician? you have to work at diversity. you are changing the mindset and the culture. that is two inches in charge -- that is who is in charge. the indians are in charge, if you want to go back to an old expression. we decide. it is a collective thing. have people of color at the table. if there is nobody who looks like you at the table, you are not deciding. the people at the table decide.
people coming and afterwards, coming in late, that is not going to work. nobody is sitting up there at the corporate level and telling us. joe: can we give this distinguished group of people a round of applause? [applause] joe: outstanding. [applause] joe: i will end with a shameless plug. you can hear this on sirius xm radio on martin luther king day. monday morning, we will have it on our show. we will actually play it back twice, it will be all morning long. , thankthank all of you you for doing this.
if it does get moved when you come back and you need help in a nonviolent approach, call me. i will make sure that we will bring the group of people to keep it where it should be prominent. i think dr. martin luther king would be proud of these people. and proud of all of us. thank you for finding that speech. may it never be lost again. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] joe: we have the state of the union. >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. forow us on twitter
information on our schedule, and to keep up with the latest history news. on the presidency, journalist paul brandus discusses his book under this roof, the white house and the presidency. 21 presidents, 21 rooms, 21 inside stories. it explains how presidents from george washington to barack obama have left their impression . we hear about thomas jefferson's bathrooms, and jfk's situation rooms. the national library for the study of washington's mount vernon posted this. >> good evening. is doug bradburn, and the director of the washington library here in mount vernon. it is my great delight to welcome you to one of our evening for talks. i would also like to welcome the